Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen, USA, Ret., will receive the Creighton W. Abrams Medal “for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the United States Army” during the opening ceremony of the Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 25 in Washington.
Kroesen, a native of Trenton, N.J., is a nationally recognized expert in Army personnel and defense issues.
He is a frequent contributing writer for ARMY Magazine, AUSA's monthly professional journal.
In addition to being an Association senior fellow, he is a senior fellow at the Joint Services Staff College, Norfolk, Va., and chairman emeritus of the board of MPRI, Inc., Alexandria, Va.
Kroesen's work as a military adviser and his writings address the Army's need for well-equipped, well-trained soldiers and the importance of the Army – active, guard and reserve – being part of a joint team.
His ability to write with authority on these subjects is the result of a 41-year Army career.
Kroesen joined the Army Reserve in 1942 and was attending Rutgers University as a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program when he was called to active duty less than a year later to fight in World War II.
He fought the Nazis in Europe as a platoon leader with the 36th Infantry Division until the end of the war.
He returned to the United States in 1947 after serving additional time in Germany with the 100th Infantry Division and the 7748 Field Information Agency.
Later Kroesen served with the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., and was assigned to several positions with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team in Korea and Japan.
He completed Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1956, then moved to the Army Security Agency in Arlington, Va.
Kroesen attended the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., in 1959.
He graduated from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., in 1962 before his first assignment to the Army general staff as chief of the force programming division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development, at the Pentagon. Kroesen was the commander of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division in 1968.
He was an adviser to the assistant chief of staff, J-3, in Vietnam, and then served there as commander of the 23rd Infantry Division; deputy commander, XXIV Corps; and commanding general, First Regional Assistance Command.
In 1972, Kroesen became commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.
He would later serve as deputy commanding general, V Corps, and commanding general, VII Corps, both in Germany.
Kroesen assumed command of Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga., in 1976.
He then became Army vice chief of staff. He served as Army vice chief for one year, then took his last Army assignment as commander of United States Army Europe and Central Army Group (NATO) from 1979-1983.
He retired from the Army in May 1983.
Kroesen is a highly decorated soldier.
His badges include the Combat Infantryman Badge with two stars, Master Parachutist Badge, General Staff Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the gold German Parachutist Badge.
He is the recipient of the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters; the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster; the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; the Distinguished Flying Cross; the Vietnam Service Medal with eight stars; the Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class; and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm (four awards) – to name a few.
“A combat veteran, a leader at the highest echelons and consummate advocate for the Army, General Kroesen continues to help the Army,” the citation accompanying his medal says.
“Through his many writings in support of Army initiatives, he has gained the respect of all inside the Army and the civilian leadership of the country.”
Gen. Glenn Otis, USA, Ret., said “'Fritz' Kroesen's writings demonstrate a superb understanding and appreciation for national security issues.
“General Kroesen is clearly deserving of the Abrams Medal,” Otis said.